Washington County’s unemployment rate dipped slightly in November, but for the second consecutive month, Greene County’s figure bumped up significantly.

Washington’s jobless rate dropped to 5.0%, down one-tenth of a percentage point from October’s final rate of 5.1%. The November figure is 0.9 percent higher than it was a year earlier (4.1%), according to seasonally adjusted statistics released Thursday by the state Department of Labor & Industry.

Greene’s rate jumped to 5.7% in November, up three-tenths from 5.4% the previous month. That followed a 0.5% bump between September and October – from 4.9% to 5.4% – meaning Greene County’s jobless figure rose 0.8 percent in only two months. The county’s November 2018 rate was 4.6%, 1.1 percent below the most recent figure.

Both rates were higher than the Pennsylvania (4.3) and national (3.5) figures for November. Washington County’s rate has not been below that of the state and/or nation since March, when the county was at 3.7%, Pennsylvania at 3.9% and the U.S. at 3.8%.

Washington is one of seven counties in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, where the rate rose two-tenths to 4.3%. Washington was the only county in the MSA to post a decline in November.

Washington’s labor force, according to Labor & Industry, was 107,700, a decrease of 600 from October. Employment also declined by 600 over the month, to 102,300, and the number of residents listed as unemployed dipped by 100, to 5,400.

Greene’s labor force remained at 16,800. The number listed as employed (15,800) dipped by 100 and the number of unemployed (1,000) increased by 100.

At 5.0%, Washington and Beaver again tied for the fourth-lowest countywide rate in the MSA (which also includes Pittsburgh). Butler County had the lowest figure, 4.4%, followed by Allegheny (4.5) and Westmoreland (4.9). Armstrong (6.0) was sixth and Fayette (6.6) seventh.

Fayette’s figure also is the highest among Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Adams and Centre counties (both 3.2%) had the lowest jobless rates.

The Pittsburgh MSA lost 1,500 seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs from September, lowering the total to 1,187,400. That figure was down 4,200 from a year earlier. Statewide, jobs rose 0.8% from November 2018.

Among supersectors in the MSA, trade, transportation & utilities posted the largest monthly jobs gain (3,000), because of holiday shopping and shipping. Construction jobs declined by 2,200 – the largest deficit among supersectors.

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. If you have a subscription, please Log In.